Paul, the libertarian-minded congressman who's criticized the government's assassination of al-Awlaki in a missile strike last week in Yemen, argued that the strike opens a slippery slope toward broader targeting of citizens by the government.
"Can you imagine being put on a list because you're a threat? What's going to happen when they come to the media?" Paul asked during an appearance at the National Press Club. "The media becomes a threat or a professor becomes a threat. Some day that could well happen. This is the way it works. It's incrementalism."
Paul has staked out turf in the GOP primary as a critic of ongoing US foreign policy and national security strategy. He suggested earlier this week that President Obama's authorization of an attack against a U.S. citizen without due process was an impeachable offense, an assertion he repeated Wednesday.
Paul otherwise used his speech to announce a hefty $8 million fundraising haul for the third quarter before launching into a scathing indictment of federal overreach and a foreign policy he described as akin to the failed "empires" of history.
"This is what's happened throughout history," he said in his lengthy critique of America's "militarism." "Empires get too big, spread themselves too thinly around the world, and then they self-destruct."